“Art against Poverty in the DRC” Competition Holds Award Ceremony

Dec 11, 2016

On Tuesday, 6 December, the four winning artists of the ‘Art against Poverty’ competition officially received their awards from the Secretary General for Higher and University Education, the UNDP Country Director, the Director of the Academy of Fine Arts and the Director of the French Institute of Kinshasa.

Students Jackson TSHISEKEDI, Dieudonné NGABARO, Odeb LITOFO and Paulvi NGIMBI received awards in recognition of the quality of their work and the strength of the messages communicated through their artistic endeavours. The award ceremony was followed by the opening of an exhibition displaying the 30 works selected at the end of the competition. This was the last in a series of activities launched by UNDP in collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts on 17 October 2016 to coincide with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

The competition was an opportunity for young students to express themselves freely on social issues, as well as to compete amongst one another; a chance to gage their artistic potential whilst helping to deliver a defiant message in the face of poverty in the DRC. UNDP granted 40 participating students from a mixture of all year groups at the Academy of Fine Arts the opportunity to interact with the public regarding their place and role in the development of the DRC.

In her opening speech the UNDP Country Director for the DRC, Priya Gajraj, highlighted that: “The commitment of these students and the issues reflected through their work are part of the wider dynamic of transformational change for sustainable development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo”. She also praised the students’ engagement with the messages communicated through their work: “Your work illustrates the dignity of those individuals who adopt a courageous, hard-working and can-do attitude, just like the Congolese people; this is also clear to see from the presence of Congolese women in the way the country’s development is represented. This is what we at UNDP see every day through our work on the ground: women and men working together in the construction of a better future”.

Female artists for development in the DRC

Female students at the Academy of Fine Arts demonstrated a great deal of enthusiasm and took full part in the competition. At the exhibition opening, they defended their place at the heart of development through the presentation of their work and were able to express the prejudice they encounter.

Fully aware of the role they play within their communities, these students demonstrated a long-term commitment to raising awareness going beyond their work, encouraging each and every woman to place herself at the heart of a process of empowerment in support of development. “Women have opinions to give to Congolese society that could be used in the fight against poverty,” Kasangati Kabena said. “Congolese women hit a stumbling block when it comes to expressing their opinion because they are scared; they feel incapable of having ideas that could be used as weapons against poverty. I want to tell all women: your opinion matters!”

Dieudonné, one of the competition’s four winning artists, shared his enthusiasm at the end of the event: “I want to thank UNDP and the Academy of Fine Arts for having given me this award for the best piece of work tackling HIV/AIDS-related stigmatization. This competition has motivated us all to excel and unveiled our potential by putting us in contact with a variety of different audiences.”

Twenty-four paintings, five sculptures and ceramics were on display from 6 to 14 December 2016 at the French Institute of Kinshasa.

Aude Mbenzu (Intern)

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